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Sensory Marketing can help with emotional buys

Posted on: September 4th, 2018

Did you ever stop and wonder why some retailers offer coffee and sweet confections as you enter the store?

Why others burn scented candles that smell like clean cotton, freshly baked sugar cookies or cinnamon?

And certainly, there must be a reason why those velvety-soft chenille throws always seem to be prominently displayed at arm’s length.

It’s called sensory marketing and it’s not just limited to big-box retailers, but a beneficial practice for garden centers and nurseries as well.

So, what is sensory marketing?

Sensory marketing (also known as sensory branding) is a form of marketing that directly appeals to the consumers senses. The idea is that if you can relate to consumers on an emotional level, there’s a better chance of securing a sale at the register.

Research has long suggested that our bodily sensations often influence our decision making without any conscious awareness. Creating a sensory experience for the customer helps solidifies the relationships by connecting with them on an emotional level – and when it comes to purchasing, emotions lead to increased revenue.

While springtime is prime selling season for many garden centers and nurseries, the autumnal season represents your best opportunity to impact customers with sensory marketing.

Kathryn Lively, Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College says that, “We’re conditioned from a very early age that the autumn comes with all these exciting things.”

Going back to school, football season, Halloween and Thanksgiving, pumpkins, trees changing colors – we build an idea in our head about what autumn comes to represent and thus we all look forward to the season in a special way.

But how can a garden center or nursery capitalize on the five senses at their retail locations? Below are a few examples.

Taste – By incorporating taste into sensory marketing, you’re thinking outside the box in what could be a very simple and cost-effective way. Have oatmeal cookies available at your store’s entrance. Have a “pumpkin” bucket filled with rich fall candies like caramels and candy corn near your plants and fall décor. Stimulating one’s taste buds will instantly create a state of euphoria – and a better shopping experience.

Sight – Our sense of sight is often the most stimulated and immediately recognizable. Create lifestyle displays at your entrances, exits and in driver aisles throughout your garden center and nursery. Include scarecrows, pumpkins, mums, corn bales and any other fall décor items you sell or that provide inspiration to the customer. The more visual merchandising ideas you create to appeal to the sense of sight, the more product you will move.

Touch – Merchandise decorative containers near your fall plants. This will allow customers to touch and feel the product – dropping plants into various containers until they find the right look and style for their home. This interactive process encourages the customer’s creativity.

Smell – Flowers and plants naturally provide their own inspiring fragrance. Heighten the sense of smell by placing fall potpourri in key areas of your garden center or nursery. At the registers, near pumpkins, by empty containers – anywhere the smells of the season are not present.

Hearing – While music is an obvious choice, try incorporating water features into your lifestyle displays. The sound will gently sooth your customer into a relaxed state – helping customers become more engrossed in an emotional buying experience.

Sensory marketing is a tool right at our fingertips, and with a little effort you will see the benefits to your bottom line.

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